Sunday, March 28, 2010

Blog Retrospective: Clash of Cultures!

Being an expat, I'm always interested in that mysterious space where cultures interact! How do we perceive each other? This question has been one of the main themes of my blog from the beginning. Here's a little taste of how my ideas on the subject have evolved over the past few years:

Have you ever wondered what the French think of peanut butter and Vegemite? Or what they think of "freedom fries"? Or what's my least favorite thing about France? (Hint: it's the merde). Well, wonder no more -- just follow the links!

Of course, anyone who has even a passing familiarity with this blog knows that my favorite thing about Europe is the transportation!!! I loved it when I was Living Downtown and Car-Free in Bordeaux, I've loved le metro ever since I first visited Paris, and I absolutely adore it here in Zurich: Transportation Paradise!! (Even if the Swiss rules of etiquette are a little mysterious...)

(Other great benefits, of course, are the education and health care.)

One of the most interesting things about moving to a new country is learning a new language! It's fun for the kids to test the linguistic boundaries. As for the grown-ups...? I contend that A foreign language is best learned in the bedroom . But that's not to say that good ol' English is uninteresting! Au contraire ! What with its million tenses and grammar rules that are made to be, like, broken. ;^)

And how's that culture shock? After a certain time abroad, my original country starts looking like a parallel universe, where the same laws of physics do not apply. After learning the richness of a new culture, it's frustrating to see your old compatriots reducing your new compatriots to cartoon characters! And don't forget the further-culture-shock adventure of moving from France to Switzerland -- It seems like it shouldn't be that big a deal, but it is! (Lucky thing I have my fellow weirdos to keep me company.)

And how do I fit into all of this? Well, you can start with my misadventures at a couple of big Catholic weddings. Or have a look at my time capsule: Baby's day in Bordeaux. Or have a look at some of my photos of the things you see in Bordeaux, of my life in Bordeaux, of the scale model of the solar system in Zurich, of Europride Zurich, and -- as a bonus -- of Lago Maggiore.

And do I miss my old traditions? Being a "cultural Mormon" in Europe? Stay tuned for next week's blog retrospective to find out!


Anonymous said...

Nice post. The deacon and I will be going to Italy for a week soon. I know, I won't get immersed in the culture in one week, but I've really been enjoying reading blogs written by ex-pats living there, trying to learn a few crucial phrases and daydreaming about future trips. I'd love to live in Europe for a few years. Maybe it will happen someday.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Chaplain!!!

Italy's beautiful -- it's great to got there even for just a week!